Most Memorable and True Advice

This octopus is making so many mistakes, but he’s out there trying his best!

Many people have asked me whether I went to art school.  Yes, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in art from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.  I think UAA is a pretty decent State university.  I have studied at two others, and I think it was overall the best. It definitely had the best art building, and the other classes I took were better than the ones at Western Oregon University, and Western State College of Colorado, as well.  Maria and I live in a neighborhood called College Village, and it is only about a mile to the UAA campus, and only a mile and half to the art building. I wish I lived here when I was attending UAA — it would have been more convenient than the 4 miles it was to my Fairview condo.  I studied at WSC for one year, and then three years at WOU.  Neither are super well known for their academic standards, but I am not a super academic person, so it comes as no surprise that after four years I didn’t graduate.  It wasn’t until I worked as an artist for a couple years that I decided to go to UAA and finish my degree. 

Along my path through the academic system I picked up a little bit of wisdom and advice from mentors, some applicable to life, and some applicable directly to production of art.  A wise friend once casually imparted some of the most valuable advice — it’s all about showing up!  If you aren’t there, you won’t gain anything. I should have taken that one to heart at WOU when missing a few classes ended up in catastrophic failure. I was getting an A in history class and decided I didn’t have to attend the last few classes before the final.  The date to the final was changed, and I didn’t hear about it, because I wasn’t there.  It was worth 50% of the grade. I failed the class and my GPA dropped too low to continue with my scholarship. It was not good. You have to show up!  I can’t even count the number of times I have gotten a commission, or sold art, or booked an art show, just because I had shown up to an event.

At WOU, I took an art and business class. It was required to graduate. We had a guest lecturer come to talk about business. The one thing I remember him telling me, is not to go to important business meetings under the influence of drugs, or alcohol.  At the time it really didn’t seem all that important. I do follow this advice, even though I am the beer painter, I haven’t ever shown up drunk or high to meetings, even though the stress of waiting for some meetings made me wish I could.  I can only imagine how badly meetings could have gone if I wasn’t at my best when I have been put on the spot.

In sculpture class I got similar advice from the professor about working in the sculpture lab.  He was adamantly against using drugs, or alcohol when making sculptures. He said if he caught any of his students under the influence in the lab, he would fail us, and not let us back into his classes. He said for one, it is unsafe, like driving a car, power tools are dangerous.  And secondly, even if you aren’t using power tools, you can screw up your piece of art. He said from experience, one day he had been drinking and just wanted to get a little work done later that evening. He ended up screwing up the sculpture, and wasting many previous hours of work.  I found this to be true when Maria and I were building our log cabin. Right away, I learned to stay 100% sober when building with logs. I wasn’t using a chainsaw, or even sharp tools, but after I made a notch with a handsaw backwards when I had been just a touch under the influence of cannabis, I never did that again.  Logs are expensive, and even worse, getting hurt in the backwoods can be very very expensive, or even fatal.  So don’t work high, or drunk.  At least then, if you do make an error, you can’t blame alcohol or weed for the mistake.

Speaking of mistakes, it is better not to make them in the first place.  This is the final bit of advice I will share with you, that was imparted by a professor.  I was in the painting studio working on the biggest painting of my life at that point, and I asked the professor what she thought about how it was going, and if I could get any advice.  She turned to me and said, “Scott, I like what you have going on here, don’t f*ck it up!” I laughed at the moment she said it, but it also made me realize that it’s always good to stop and think about what you are doing.  Screwing up is easy, and you can do it without realizing what is even happening. Work slower, more methodically, and more deliberately, and hopefully that will help prevent screwups.     

So, to summarize, it’s all about showing up, don’t do drugs before doing any kind of work, and when you’re doing well on a project, don’t f*ck it up.

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From Hating Baseball to Liking It

Here in Anchorage, Alaska school was canceled today, on November 3rd, because we got about four inches of snow on the ground. I find this a bit startling, because when I was growing up here, school wouldn’t be cancelled, unless there were over 11″ on the ground, with another 6″ or 7″ more on the way. I blame the new Anchorage School District Superintendent, Dr. Jharrett Bryantt, who recently moved here from Houston.  Not used to Anchorage winter, and I think he possibly celebrated a bit too much after the Astros pitched a combined no-hitter in game 3 of the World Series last night.  

All kidding aside, I’m not here to talk about Anchorage’s weather, even though it is probably the most beautiful day since last March.  I am here to talk a bit about baseball.  You may not know, but Clendaniels are crazy about baseball.  My brother has been the coach at Anchorage West High for three years, and the president of Anchorage West little league program for two years.  My niece, Athena Clendaniel, was the captain of the varsity baseball team her senior year in high school, and threw the first pitch at a Dodgers game in 2018 for the MLB girls Trailblazer program. My dad was always the coach for my brother’s and my teams in little league, and even my sisters had to play t-ball. My grandfather, Frank Clendaniel, loved baseball.  Grandma was trying to save money, but grandpa went down and signed up all four of his boys for little league.  The game Strat O’ Matic baseball predated video game baseball and all four of the Clendaniel brothers (my dad and uncles) played it vigorously. They spent every day at the park playing baseball with their friends. They collected baseball cards, putting the eyes out with ball point pens when their favorite players played badly. My dad’s Hank Aaron rookie card isn’t in mint condition, because of a bad series of games one year.  

My brother loves baseball, but I never really did growing up.  I remember being forced into it at an early age. About five years old and crying to mom that I just got hit in the face by a hardball.  My dad said, “Thank the ball for toughening up your hand,” when it stung in the glove. I didn’t mind t-ball so much, and coach pitch was alright, but when I hit the minors in little league, I really didn’t enjoy the game much.  My brother would trade me candy and cash to get me to play catch with him for 30 minutes.  My batting average in little league was .0 and I just didn’t want to pay attention out in left field where, if I wasn’t sitting on the bench, I was forced to stand.  I used to look for four leaf clovers in the grass. It’s no wonder I never caught a fly ball.  In 5th grade I still had to play baseball and I revolted by getting really sick. I had walking pneumonia, and ended up having to go on steroids to kick it. Truth was, I just didn’t want to play baseball, and I would rather be sick than go out and stand in left field.  If my dad loved baseball so much, why did I have this awful floppy glove that was 40 years old, and why were all the family’s baseball bats nailed back together, or held together with electrical tape? Fortunately I got out of baseball when I went to junior high. Baseball surrounded us, and of course the Mariners were destined to lose games.  Yeah, my parents are from Walla Walla, Washington, and really care if the Mariners win or lose. So, they are pretty much always unhappy during baseball season. 

Fast forward to 2005, and I moved into a sweet apartment building on 3rd and A St.  I wondered what the noise was that sounded like ghosts howling through the exhaust vent.  It turned out to be my lower neighbor screaming about the Mariners.  We became good friends with Dicker, and he invited us over for grilled salmon and to watch Mariners games. I like salmon, and Dicker grills it perfectly. Maria started to like baseball. I guess I learned some stuff about it when I was out in left field, because I was able to help teach her the rules of the game, when Dicker wasn’t explaining the finer points. We continued to visit Dicker for salmon and baseball for 15 years, until he moved to Washington. Our old condo apartment was close to Mulcahy Stadium, and we used to walk down there with Dicker to drink beers in the beer garden and watch the Anchorage Glacier Pilots play in the Alaska Baseball League.  Maria wanted to go to a MLB game, so she drug me to watch the Cubs play at Wrigley Field on a trip to Chicago.  We moved into this house a year ago, and Maria turned baseball on the TV and we grilled salmon. I don’t even care who wins, and I don’t really need to know the score or the inning, but for a guy who used to loathe the sport, I’ve turned into a fan. I like the noise of the game at this point more than anything. It reminds me of happy people around me. I feel like I am at home when I hear the roar of the crowd, the crack of the bat, and the chatter of the announcers.  

Maria’s first MLB game at Wrigley Field, Chicago, 2015

We have been watching the World Series, and the games have been pretty good.  I don’t really care who wins and I’m happy that the series is tied 2-2. At Dicker’s house, when we would go for dinner and games, I used to root for extra innings, because there would be more baseball, and more time hanging out with friends. The same is true about series games. If they tie up the series, then there are more games, and more salmon dinners to drink beer and hang with friends.  So, for a guy who used to hate baseball, I guess I have come around to loving the sport. Not because I participate in fantasy baseball, or even care who wins or loses, but I just like to feel like I am surrounded by fun times, and baseball brings me that.

I have been painting Christmas ornaments, and I just made one for the Phillies and for the Astros. I painted a baseball on the back of each one. The oil paint is drying, but they will be available at my Etsy shop very soon.

Drinking and Reviewing NA Beer during Sober October, Part 2

In my last blog post I explained why I’m currently drinking NA beers, and reviewed three that I had tried so far. So, today I’ll be reviewing the rest.

We are in week 3 of sober October, and I have to say that we’ve been pretty good. I didn’t have any beer at the Alaska Craft Brew Festival, but I did have some at the Great Northern Brewers Club meeting.  Why would I go to a beer festival when I’m not drinking? I had a booth at the event to sell my beer art. Anyway, I am back on track and have just over a week left, and intend to finish strong.  It’s been great — I feel good, physically, and about myself too. I always tell people if they slip up on a detox from drinking to take heart and get back on the wagon. Your body won’t even notice the day you cheated on your discipline, but going back to old, bad habits is definitely going to hit you in the liver.  

So, I left off last time talking about Non-Alcoholic, or NA beer options.  I went into La Bodega and bought some beers to review: Athletic Light, Bitburger 0.0, Weihenstephaner Non-Alcoholic, Athletic Upside Dawn Golden, and Samuel Adams Just the Haze Non-Alcoholic Hazy IPA. 

I can’t recommend the Athletic brand, all three I’ve tried have that bad flavor of cooked alcohol in the beer.  And same with the Bitburger 0.0.  I was surprised, as Germans love their NA beers, and I would have thought Bitburger would have come through for me. I wanted something crisp and clean, but the beer Bitburger offered can’t hold up to the alcohol removal process.  I wonder why more breweries even try to make a beer and then remove the alcohol. Why not just make a malt and hop flavored soda? It seems to me that a beer-flavored drink would be easier to make than removing the alcohol.  The Russians have been enjoying Kvas for hundreds of years, and it has very little alcohol to begin with. I actually like drinking carbonated fruit juice beverages like IZZE and Blue Monkey more than an NA beer.  I normally cut them with sparkling water to extend the goodness, and to tone down the super sweet flavor of straight juice. 

The NA beers I can recommend are the Weihenstephaner, and the Sam Adams Just the Haze.  Germany comes through with the Weihenstephaner, it is a hefeweizen style of brew and has that estery quality that a good German weissbier should have.  Hazy and golden yellow with an aroma of cloves and banana. The mouthfeel is full bodied like a hefe, and the flavor is just like the aroma. If you love German wheat beers and can’t drink alcohol, this NA beer is a good choice for you. 

The Sam Adams not only won Gold at GABF for NA beer this year, it is actually really good! Also hazy and yellow, this NA beer provides a nice aroma of clean aroma hops.  The mouthfeel is slightly more watery than I would have liked, but the flavor makes up for it. They must have an expensive machine for taking the alcohol out of the beer, because if I didn’t know any better, I would call it a session IPA.  And session you can, since it has less than .05% alcohol content.  You would have to drink 100 of them to have the same alcohol that is in a regular beer.

Cheers to your health, your mind and your body! 

Drinking and Reviewing NA Beer during Sober October

Today is day five of sober October, yeah I started a day late.  I’m doing well, and haven’t had a sip of alcohol since Saturday. The first time I took a whole month off from drinking was in 2012 in McCarthy, Alaska. There is an event at the Golden Saloon that happens at the end of every season called Last Man Standing, which is a party the bar throws for the whole town to get rid of all perishables, such as food, beer, soft drinks, and NA beer.  Everything is free! In 2012 the bar shut down later than usual, in mid-October, and so that was the first time I ever drank non-alcoholic beer. At the time, my options were St. Pauli Girl NA, and O’Doul’s. I tried both. The O’doul’s was alright, it had a bit of a sweet and sour, grainy flavor and not much hops, but I had a couple at the party.  The St. Pauli Girl NA was definitely worse. The owner had a hard time getting people to drink the NA beer, so he gave me a 12-pack to take to my cabin.  I drank one every night, until they were gone.

Today, I am in Anchorage, and I thought some NA beer might be kind of good. I wasn’t hankering for O’Doul’s, so instead I got a six-pack of Lagunitas IPNA.  I have been drinking one per night for the last five days, and I have to say it is better than O’doul’s, or St. Pauli Girl.  Today I went to La Bodega and bought a mix pack of other NA beers.  Let me tell you, the NA beer market has really expanded since 2012! I had heard that Athletic Brewing Co. made a decent NA beer, so I picked up a few of those, as well as a couple German options and a Sam Adams Hazy NA IPA. I will review both the Lagunitas IPNA and Athletic Brewing Company’s Run Wild IPA today. Next time I will give you a rundown on the other five.

Lagunitas IPNA smells great, just like a regular IPA. It tastes like watered-down beer, but has a pleasant IPA and malt flavor.  The beer is clear and light brown, and doesn’t retain any foam like a real IPA should.  To me it tastes like the brewers took a bottle of the Waldo’s Special Ale, poured it into a gallon of water, added some caramel coloring, then carbonated, and bottled it into 12 bottles.  Overall, I would consider buying it again. It is good, and possibly a decent alternative to real IPA when one is trying to stay away from alcohol.

Athletic Brewing Co’s Run Wild IPA has a copper color, and beautiful foam that stays around for a long time. The flavor is weird, not really like an IPA. It reminds me more of an O’Doul’s. It has a nice body to it, and the mouthfeel is spot on. The smell is grainy, and a bit like smelling malt extract straight from the barrel. It only has a hint of hops. There is a pronounced bitterness after the sour grainy flavor dissipates.  As it warms up, the weird sour grain flavor gets stronger. But, if you want to look like you are drinking IPA, it fits the bill perfectly.  And I would drink it again, especially during sober October.  

Next week I will review a few more of these beers, and let you know which one is the best. So far Lagunitas IPNA is the best NA beer I have had.  I know the Germans like to drink a bunch of NA beer, so maybe they make something decent. NA beer has got to be better for you than sugary sodas, and more tasty than drinking sparkling waters. 

Cheers to sober October!  I hope you are having a good time, whether participating, or not!    

Termination Dust

Termination dust on the Chugach mountains

Happy Fall Equinox! During our five-mile run this morning we marveled at the gorgeous termination dust on the Chugach mountains that arrived overnight. For those of you who are not up on Alaskan lingo, “termination dust” refers to the first dusting of snow on mountain tops, signaling the termination of summer. This means something to the beer drinking crowd of Anchorage.  When we see that first snow, we know that Midnight Sun Brewing is about to release Termination Dust Belgian Style Barley Wine.  It is only released when Lee Ellis, President of the brewery, sees snow on Flattop mountain.  Well, I looked up at Flattop today, and the snow stopped right above Flattop mountain.  So, I assumed the brewery would hold out, but to my surprise, I saw on social media that the release is happening today!  I have a bottle of this beer in my beer fridge from two years ago, so maybe it is time to drink that one as well, since it is Equinox, and I feel celebration in the air.

When Alaskans see termination dust, some take a big sigh of relief, and others start feeling depressed, depending on how one feels about the impending winter. I personally like winter more than summer, so I get very excited about longer nights, cozy evenings around a fire, movie nights without FOMO, football season, fat-biking, and most importantly, alpine ski season.  I love skiing, and I especially love skiing at Arctic Valley Ski Area!  I am a lifetime member of the Anchorage Ski club. Maria and I already bought our season passes, so seeing termination dust on the front range on Equinox makes me feel hopeful for a great upcoming ski season! I am certainly glad to live in Alaska! Now, I’m off to Midnight Sun Brewing to sample this year’s Termination Dust. Cheers!

Prints of this beer portrait are available at my Etsy shop

Lazy Morning at the Cabin

Maria and I are at the cabin in McCarthy today.  It has been ten years since we started building this little log house.  We woke up to rain and a bit of wind.  I started a fire in the wood stove, since rain promises a colder day. It is 45F outside, but a nice toasty 67F inside the cabin.  Should I put another log on the fire? I think not. 67F, is great but 75F is too warm.  I’m supposed to be outside harvesting dry spruce branches to fuel the Burning Dude, which will burn tomorrow at 9pm on the bank of the mighty Kennicott River. I made a lazy breakfast burrito with all the fixings and then volunteered to do the dishes.  The dishes are done, and it is still raining. I think I’ll have a pot of hot herbal tea, since the coffee is all gone and I don’t want anything with more caffeine at this point. I already did my yoga and there are no good reasons left not to go outside and get to work, but I am enjoying taking it slow today. I will go outside and harvest that brush when I am done writing this blog.  Until then, I’m going to enjoy watching the birds splash in the puddles outside, and the trees wiggle in the wind. The hot tea is great, and I can see fall happening all around me with yellow leaves falling from Aspen tops, and fireweed going to seed.  Yesterday we woke up to frost on the ground, then it started raining in the afternoon. I love how fall is a slower time of year — getting us all ready for the stillness of winter. I’m excited about tomorrow’s Burning Dude event, and I’ll talk about that in my next blog post. I wonder if anyone will come if it’s raining hard and windy.  At least fire danger will be low, since it has rained a bunch in the last 24 hours. Okay I’m ready to go out now. I better put on my waterproof gear, since I can hear the rain humming on the metal roof.

Burning Dude in McCarthy, Alaska
We built Burning Dude yesterday. The Dude is getting very wet in this rain storm. He will burn on 9.09 at 9:09pm on the bank of the Kennicott River.

Vending in Alaska

My wife, Maria, who is the Business Manager for our art business, was traveling in August for 17 days out of the last 25, which made me realize that I really rely on her for basically everything. When she is gone I have to do double the work I normally am expected to do. She also does the stuff that I don’t do as well on my own.  She was supposed to be back on Thursday last week, but my brother has been very ill and Maria volunteered to take my niece to Princeton, NJ to start college, so she was gone for most of this weekend too.  

While Maria was at Princeton, I was scheduled to set up my vending tent at the fabulous Chugachfest at my favorite ski area, Arctic Valley, on Friday and Saturday. Maria had one day in town between trips, and had spent it helping me get set up for vending at the festival. I was concerned, since there was a weather advisory for the weekend, because my merchandise is made from wood, canvas, and paper. It’s not that delicate, but wind and rain is not necessarily good for art. I decided not to bring my vending stuff up the bumpy Arctic Valley road, just to hurry back down with a billowing tarp and huge risk of damaged equipment and merchandise.

I drove up there on Saturday to see my favorite musician Michael Kirkpatrick play a short set, and saw the carnage from overnight. The Mountain Manager told me that every E-Z Up tent had flipped over and a few were halfway up the valley. The wind was still blowing, but we still had an awesome time listening to music.  The sound guy was doing a great job making the musicians sound their best!  So, I was really glad I made the decision not to set up my booth, eventhough Maria and I had spent so much time getting it ready. After Maria got back from Princeton, we went to Seward to catch Michael play at the Yukon Bar, and then followed him to Hope, like a couple of groupies, to see him play at the Seaview Cafe.  So much fun!  I love his new song Wrangell Mountain Rendezvous.

Not a good day to be a vendor at Arctic Valley!

This Saturday we have another opportunity to set up our vending tent — at the Alaska Craft Brew Festival! This is an event not to be missed!  The Delaney Park Strip comes alive with live music, and a huge amount of Alaskan craft beer, and some from the Lower 48, as well.  I love this event, because I never have to explain why I paint beer to the people there.  This is my crew! And most of the people already know who I am from Alaska Beer Nerds.  I have a good feeling about this weekend.  The weather is wonderful out right now, and historically this is the one weekend of August that has a break from the rain. I know, because Maria and I got married 19 years ago this weekend. It didn’t rain then, and over the last 18 years, normally doesn’t. So let’s hope for good luck, and at least a lack of wind!  Cheers to the upcoming Fest, I hope to see you there!   

It Takes Two

Maria’s cousin and her two sons have been visiting from Germany, and I have been doing a lot more work by myself, since they arrived about two weeks ago, while Maria and her Mom have been focusing on hosting. They’re taking a long holiday, visiting Alaska and the Southwest U.S. for two and a half weeks. First off, I was solo in McCarthy building the roof on Maria’s mom’s new cabin. I also finished a commissioned painting while I was awaiting their arrival. The new cabin is not too big, a 16x20ft log structure with a sleeping loft for overflow guests. It sure would have been nice to have the extra space when we had everyone visiting for a couple of nights last week! Before Maria left McCarthy to meet her relatives in Anchorage, we got all the log work done and installed the sleeping loft platform on the new cabin. I was forced to take the tarp down that had been protecting the building site from rain. The house had grown too tall to work under the tarp anymore. It is now the rainy season, which was worrying me, since I didn’t want the plywood and OSB flooring to take water damage. I successfully made and installed all the trusses and most of the metal roofing before the guests arrived. Of course it was raining. Maria had her cousin’s strong young sons help her bring out the large French door. When they arrived, we carried it to the site, and it was ready to install. The next day Maria and her guests went on a glacier hike and spent the afternoon in Kennecott. I was really worried about the lack of ridge-cap and spent the day putting it, and the last sheets of metal in place. I was also able to wiggle the huge door into place, and secure it to the log walls. When the crew got back from exploring the valley they helped me put the large window in. It sure is nice to have more than two hands to lift heavy stuff!

Mama Klava approves of her new cabin so far!

We all drove to Anchorage the next day, stopping off at the Klutina River to nab two Sockeye salmon. That weekend Maria and her guests flew around Denali, and then took a glacier cruise out of Whittier. I started catching up on work in the studio, and took down my art show at Dos Manos Gallery. We had an amazing dinner at Seven Glaciers restaurant at the top of Alyeska Resort. After resting up the next day, we went shopping for souvenirs downtown, and got all the guests packed up for their flight to Las Vegas. En-route to the airport, we had an amazing sushi boat dinner. Maria flew to Vegas the next morning, and I have been holding down the fort here in Anchorage while the Benner crew sees Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, Sedona, and Mexico. They will have seen five National Parks when they are completely done!
Maria does a lot of work for the business. She makes, packages, and mails all the Etsy orders. She manages the business and home finances. She does half the house cleaning, she does a lot of the kitchen work, and makes sure I don’t mess up and miss out on stuff I should be taking care of. When Maria is gone, I have more freedom to do what I want, when I want, but the workload is probably doubled, so it really doesn’t make life any easier. In fact, life is way more difficult. My responsibilities are doubled, and my free time is cut in half. I really don’t know how single artists get everything done! I know that before Maria decided to become my business partner and manage the business end of Real Art is Better, I was decidedly less profitable. I will be fine, and she will be back after only nine days in the States. Cheers to our partnership! I can’t do it without my better half!

My Salmon Stock Recipe

Finished salmon stock ready for the canner

Today I would like to talk about salmon stock. Not the music festival now known as Salmonfest, but the base for making soups.  Maria and I always participate in the annual Alaskan salmon harvest, whether we catch fish, or buy it directly from a commercial fishing boat.  I lean towards buying fish, because every time I go fishing, there’s another piece of gear I need to buy, plus ice, gasoline, and not to mention the wear and tear on all the equipment, including our truck, that all adds up. It also takes a bunch of my time, which takes away from activities and work that I prefer doing.  When Maria and I bring home the fish we start processing it right away. Maria is on the filleting, and she hands me the heads. I stock pile heads in a bowl, while I prepare the vegetables.  I get the vegetables sautéing in some avocado oil. When the veggies are ready I add a bunch of water, about 2.5 gallons, to my 5 gallon stock pot. I remove the gills and fins, and clean out any guts that might be lingering in the head cavity. I leave any meat there, it is good for the stock.  I usually use 15 heads. The stock needs to simmer/lightly boil for about an hour, or so, after all the heads are prepped and plopped into the stock pot. Then strain out all the particles. We normally wait over night to do anything more, in order to let the stock cool down, and then Maria makes a soup, freezes some, and cans the rest in quart-size mason jars.  We take the shelf-stable jars to the cabin, and Maria makes yummy ramen there. I always drink a pint straight from the pot. This stuff is nectar from the sea gods! Cheers to the liquid gold, and I don’t mean beer this time!

Salmon Stock Recipe

Ingredients:

2.5 gallons water

15 Salmon heads (Sockeye, Coho, or Chinook)

Avocado oil

2 large leeks

2 large onions

2 large carrots

1 bulb of garlic

1 bunch celery (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Sauté vegetables in avocado oil

2. Add water

3. Prepare and add salmon heads

4. Boil until the heads disolve into mush

5. Remove everything but the liquid

6. Can, freeze, or eat

7. Can at 10 pounds pressure for 25 minutes for quart jars

Stirring the pot
Salmon stock makes amazing ramen!

I Paint What I See

My job as an artist is to document life and to make art that people like to look at.  I paint beers, because I am into beer.  I also paint trucks, planes, trees, mountains, and animals, because that is what I am surrounded by.  If you release a product out into the world, and I run into it, I might decide to put it into a painting.  

A pretty famous California brewery recently told me I am no longer allowed to sell paintings of their beer.  They told me they want to keep anything with an image of their product strictly under their control.  I understand this and respect their decision, even though it frustrates me that they decided to let me know after I have already made 6 different paintings (all original compositions) of their beers.  I even painted live at their brewery’s taproom with their permission.  Now that it has been revoked, I feel a little cheated.  It’s hard to describe, because I don’t really feel like I have done anything wrong, but I do feel like something negative has happened here.  I don’t intend to stop making paintings of beer, but I also don’t intend to drink any more of that brewery’s product, which is fine, because it is actually pretty hard to get, especially in Alaska. 

I will continue to make commissions of any beer you want (excluding the breweries that forbid it).  I like to tell a story when I make a painting, and a successful painting causes a response from the viewer.  I want to evoke positive responses.  Normally, beer paintings make a viewer thirsty for that beer, bring up a memory of a good time, or simply bring joy to the person who is looking at it.  That is all I really want to do.  I never want to offend.  

I hope there aren’t many more unpleasant messages that come my way, telling me to stop doing my work.  I will continue with the exercise of documenting life, and telling visual stories with my artwork.  The good news is that there are a lot of small breweries and 99.99% of them value my work.  So, I will work with the ones that like what I am doing.

So, a toast to positive future vibes, and I hope you all continue to view, purchase, gift, and enjoy my art, as I intend to continue making it.